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About half of Alabama
After the years of “reconstruction”
following the Civil War, Florida’s economy was influenced by large scale
commercial agriculture. The citrus fruit industry grew, and other enterprises
focused on Florida’s rich natural resources became important. These included
such resources as natural sponges, and the mining of phosphates. Beginning in
the 1870s, people from the northern part of the United States began to travel to
Florida to enjoy the climate, and tourism became more central to the state’s
This increase in tourism also brought growth in the transportation industries,
as people wanted easier ways to reach Florida. Once in place, railroads could
also easily transport citrus fruit and other commodities back north.
By the end of World War I, land developers descended upon the state, hoping to
make money selling land to people who had increased access to Florida for
vacations and second homes. Swamp land was drained to make more land available,
but unfortunately, the stock market crash in the late 1920s meant fewer people
had disposable income for vacations.Those who were involved in land speculation
lost fortunes. This time was followed by several severe hurricanes and an
invasion by the Mediterranean fruit fly which hurt the citrus crops.
Since World War II, Florida’s economy has become more diverse. Tourism, cattle,
citrus, and phosphate have been joined by a host of new industries that have
greatly expanded the numbers of jobs available to residents. Electronics,
plastics, construction, real estate, and international banking are among the
state’s more recently-developed industries.
Florida Economic Information from
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Apalachicola, Ocala, and Osceola National Forests